Ginataang Papaya is quite a famous dish here in the Philippines which–from the name of the dish itself–is cooked in coconut milk or what we call gata.
It’s a good substitute for the common food we eat such as fried chicken, pork chop, beef, etc. because it’s meat-free (or mostly meat-free, depending on what we add in the dish). Meaning, it’s a healthier option than most things we eat. Plus, it’s something vegetarians or vegans would want.
This article will teach you how to cook an easy recipe of the ginataang papaya. Be sure to read on so you’ll get the best out of it for your loved ones to enjoy, and of course, you, as well. Also, one good thing about this recipe is it’s easy to modify it or upgrade it to make your dish a bit more unique.
Ginataang Papaya and its Health Benefits
Surely, we want to know about what we’re about to cook to familiarize ourselves with it, so let’s talk a bit about our main ingredients.
Papaya, or pawpaw–as it is called in other countries, is a fruit which originated in the tropics of Central America and some parts of South America. It is introduced here in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines through the galleon trade.
It is a healthy fruit which is usually eaten when ripe because of its sweetness, and usually used for cooking when still unripe, since it’s softer and easier to cook. Popularly known health benefits of papaya are its anti-cancer properties, digestive health benefits, antioxidants, and protection for skin damage.
Gata–or coconut milk– on the other hand, is the liquid extracted from the pulp of mature coconuts. It became a traditional food ingredient here in Southeast Asia mainly because of the vast abundance of coconuts here in the tropics.
It’s also popular nowadays since it’s known to be good for the heart, and in some studies benefit people with high cholesterol levels.
Both of them combined, you’ll be sure to have a dish that’s not only delicious, but is definitely good for your health. Without further ado, let us begin with cooking this delicious and mouth-watering veggie meal!
How To Cook Ginataang Papaya?
First up, we’re going to deal with our grated coconuts. The first goal is to make coconut cream or what is called the first extraction or kakang gata.
This is easily done by mixing the grated coconut with a cup of hot water and squeezing the liquid out. Put the grated coconut in a large bowl and pour the hot water into it.
Once the heat of the water is bearable, mash the grated coconut a couple of times to make it easier to extract. You can use a clean cloth and squeeze until the milk comes out.
Next up is to make the coconut milk, which is the second extraction or pangalawang gata. Put the grated coconut back into the bowl and pour hot water into it again and simply repeat the process of mashing and then squeezing until milk comes out.
Now that we have our gata, we can now proceed with the preparations for cooking. Make sure you have the papaya, garlic, onion, ginger and your coconut milk (second extraction/pangalawang gata) ready.
Slice the papaya into smaller pieces. Preferably until it is bite-sized. You can also slice it into thin pieces. Put them all into one cooking pot and bring it to a boil for about 15 minutes.
Lastly, add the coconut cream into the pot and boil for another 10 to 15 minutes or until your papaya is soft enough. Add salt to improve the flavor of your dish.
Transfer into a serving plate, and that’s it! You can now serve this delicious Ginataang Papaya to your loved ones!
Upgrades and Pairing
If ever you feel the need, you can always add fish, chicken or pork into the mix. Just cook it beforehand and then put it into the pot afterwards.
Notes On Ingredients
If you are unable to buy grated coconuts (niyog), you could also buy freshly squeezed coconut cream and coconut milk. However, using canned coconut milk is not recommended. Here are some articles that could help you know more about coconut cream and coconut milk:
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Ginataang Papaya Recipe
- Cooking Pan
- 2 pcs medium-sized green (unripe) papaya
- 2 pcs coconuts, grated
- 2 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 pc big-sized onion, chopped
- 1 pc whole garlic, chopped
- 1 pc small-sized ginger, chopped
- 2 tbsp salt
- Make coconut cream (kakang gata) by mixing the grated coconut with 1 cup hot water and squeezing out the liquid. You can use clean cloth to squeeze the grated coconut.
- Afterwards, make the coconut milk (gata or pangalawang gata) by mixing another 1 ½ cups hot water with the grated coconut and squeeze out the liquid.
- Cut the papaya into smaller bite-sized pieces. You may refer to the photo in this article for the size.
- Pour-in the coconut milk (pangalawang gata), garlic, onion, ginger, and papaya into a cooking pot. Boil for 15 minutes.
- Pour-in the coconut cream (kakang gata) and add-in the salt.
- Boil for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the papaya gets soft.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!